I’ve received three 2007 releases for review from Inside Out Music that all stem from the same source: The era of classic electric instrumental rock fusion albums in the late 70’s and early 80’s where we saw great releases from people like Jeff Beck, Jean Luc Ponty, Allan Holdsworth, Al Di Meola, etc. How do these newer releases match up to these classics? Let’s look at guitarist Daryl Stuermer’s seventh solo album Go.
Daryl has a great pedigree when discussing this style of music. He started out as a guitarist for jazz violinist Jean Luc Ponty and the inimitable George Duke. Most of his career, however, has been as the touring guitarist with Genesis after Steve Hackett left And Then They Were Three. He has also been Phil Collins axe man of choice for his many solo records.
I am very impressed with Daryl’s ability to write memorable, intriguing melodies that stick in your brain and have you humming the song long after. Even thought there is no voice, he uses the guitar in a way with fluid lines to convey a tunefulness unusual for this genre.
Opening with a funky groove and one of those incredible melody lines is “Striker,” reminiscent of Jean Luc Ponty’s late 70’s records. This makes sense, since Daryl got his start there playing on classics like Enigmatic Oceans and Imaginary Voyage. I also hear a lot of guitar patches and sounds recalling his work in Genesis, as on “Dream In Blue” and “Heavy Heart.” “Heavy Heart” begins like Genesis’ “Squonk” and then introduces a melody line that initially sounds like the opening vocal of “Whiter Shade of Pale.” Quite lovely.
“Urbanista” has a guitar break in the middle that just slays you with its technical perfection and again, melodicism. “Meltdown” brings the rollicking rhythm section to the front and conveys a smoother jazz feel. Fellow guitarists Larry Carlton and Robin Ford are masters of this mood. This is right on the money too.
Great patterns and familiar lines, this recording is easily on par with any of my favorite rock fusion albums like Ponty’s Cosmic Messenger, Beck’s Blow By Blow, or Di Meola’s Electric Rendevous. Daryl Stuermer’s Go is lively and fun and highly recommended for fans of these and other recordings like them.
Reviewed by Terry Jackson on October 28th, 2007